Judge Abdulla suspected of involvement in “contract killing,” says Nasheed

Police suspected Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s involvement in a “contract killing” after he released a murder suspect, alleges the closing statement prepared by former President Mohamed Nasheed for his trial on terrorism charges.

The office of the former president released the statement (Dhivehi) yesterday, noting that Nasheed was unable to complete it ahead of the final hearing on Friday (March 13), where he was found guilty of ordering the arrest of Judge Abdulla in January 2012 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Nasheed stated that he had been “continuously receiving complaints” regarding the chief judge from both his home minister and the commissioner of police.

“The latest incident I was informed of was a very tragic incident. It was reported that after Judge Abdulla released a murder suspect from detention, claiming the hospital had not submitted a document related to the case, the man went on to commit another murder,” Nasheed stated.

“Both the police and home minister characterised the incident as a direct contract killing.”

Nasheed alleged that the role assigned for Judge Abdulla under the contract was releasing the murder suspect.

“While other murder suspects are kept in detention until the conclusion of trial, the police institution believed the suspect in this case was released for that purpose and informed me thus,” the statement added.

“Contract killing”

The alleged “contract killing” Nasheed referred to involved Ibrahim Shahum Adam, who was released by Judge Abdulla on February 17, 2011 to “hold the health minister accountable” for the government-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital’s failure to provide a medical report to the police.

Shahum was brought before the judge for extension of remand detention.

Following his release in February 2011, Shahum allegedly stabbed 21-year-old Ahusan Basheer to death on March 16. Police launched a manhunt the following day and took him into custody from an uninhabited island.

Shahum had been arrested in August 2010 for the murder of 17-year-old Mohamed Hussain in Malé. In March 2013, he was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

In October last year, Shahum escaped from Maafushi jail along with another convict and was apprehended from a guesthouse in Malé six days later.

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) advised MPs to stay in at night following the jailbreak.

The following month, the Criminal Court found Shahum not guilty of murdering Ahusan Basheer.

Delivering the verdict on November 20, Judge Abdulla Didi – who also presided over Nasheed’s terrorism trial – stated that Islamic Sharia requires the eyewitness testimony of two males to prove guilt in murder cases.

The state had presented one eyewitnesses to the assault and three witnesses who claimed to have heard the victim saying before he died that Shahum stabbed him.

“National security threat”

In July 2010, then-deputy police commissioner accused the chief judge of obstructing “high-profile corruption investigations” after Judge Abdulla suspended two police lawyers on “ethical grounds.”

After Judge Abdulla was taken into military custody on January 16, 2012, then-Home Minister Hassan Afeef said the chief judge was deemed a national security threat and listed 14 cases of obstruction of justice, including shielding officials of the former regime from human rights and corruption cases.

Afeef contended that the chief judge had taken “the entire criminal justice system in his fist” and alleged that the judge actively undermined cases against drug trafficking suspects and had allowed them opportunity to “fabricate false evidence after hearings had concluded”.

In his closing statement, Nasheed said he asked the police to investigate the chief judge in accordance with the law.

“After the police failed to summon Judge Abdulla for questioning, and after continuing the investigation as far as possible without questioning him, police found that Judge Abdulla constituted a threat to national security,” Nasheed explained.

“When informed of this, I ordered the home minister to take all measures necessary to safeguard the nation from this threat. I did not give directions at any time to any party, to complete a specific task in a specific manner or to take any specific measures.”

Nasheed insisted that he never ordered the police or military to arrest the judge and hold him under military custody, noting that none of the prosecution witnesses testified to any such verbal or written order.

On the day of his arrest, police summoned the chief judge for questioning. However, the High Court quashed the summons in an unprecedented move after Judge Abdulla challenged its legality.

Nasheed also referred to numerous complaints against the chief judge submitted to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which in November 2011 found him guilty of ethical misconduct after he made political statements in the media.

However, the Civil Court issued a stay order halting disciplinary action against the judge by the judicial watchdog or oversight body.

Related to this story

Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison

Nasheed denies ordering Judge Abdulla arrest, granted three days to answer charges

Chief Judge “took entire criminal justice system in his fist”: Afeef

Failure of judiciary, JSC and parliament justified detention of Abdulla Mohamed, contends Velezinee in new book

Civil Court dismisses ruling of own watchdog body against Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed


Former Home Minister denies responsibility for ministry overspending in 2011

Former Home Minister Hassan Afeef has said he cannot be held answerable for the MVR 1 million (US$66,943) spent in excess of the Home Ministry’s budget in 2011.

The 2011 audit report for the ministry revealed that MVR 1,030,934 was spent in addition to its allocated budget while Afeef was Home Minister.

The auditor general’s report further states that the ministry initiated a number of projects without any announcement – a violation of the Public Finance Regulation, according to local media.

Afeef claimed that while he held his post in 2011 he had no involvement in the ministry’s spending, adding he was “not supposed to be aware” of the matter.

“I was not in charge of the finances, for that we had a financial controller. It is under the finance act that each individual ministry has one, and they deal with the expenditure.

“I cannot be answerable to those things because [the financial controller] has the responsibility for spending the Ministry’s budget,” Afeef told Minivan News.

Asked if he was aware that the ministry had gone over its budget at the time, Afeef added: “I am not supposed to be aware. If there was something I should be aware of, they would make me aware of it.”

The Home Ministry audit report revealed that MVR 86,329 (US$5,605) was spent on the preparation of Dharubaaruge convention centre in Male’, while MVR 75,000 (US$4,870) was spent for a music and boduberu program and MVR 36,225 (US$2,352) allocated towards a sound system for a presidential speech.

The decisions, according to local media, were all made without prior announcement to find a suitable party.

Furthermore, MVR 12,548 (US$814) was spent by the Home Ministry in 2011 to host a Ramadan breakfast for its employees, without authorisation from the Finance Ministry.

Speaking about the expenditures, Afeef stated that there were certain factors that had not been taken into consideration in the budget, adding “if the budget is not enough, they have to spend the money to fund the extra costs.”

The report noted that MVR 64,000 (US$4,155) was spent on ‘attire allowance’ for employees for national day and independence day celebrations.

The audit report also highlighted further discrepancies in expenditures made from the Department of Immigration and Emigration – which at the time functioned under the Home Ministry.

The Controller of Immigration was awarded MVR 26,729 (US$1,735) for his phone bill, while 10 employees from the department were given MVR 48,032 (US$3,118) in excess of their salary. Meanwhile, three employees at the department received MVR 2,392 (US$155) less than their agreed salary, according to local media.

Issues raised in the report on the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Service (DRPS) show that MVR 617,257 (US$40,081) had been used in contradiction to the shift-duty guidelines declared by the Civil Service Commission.

MVR 56,123 (US$3,644) was awarded to employees in excess of their salary, while MVR 3,473 (US$225) was withheld from two employees who were owed the amount.

Furthermore, contraband confiscated from inmates was not properly recorded. MVR 8,691 (US$564) was also taken from the DPRS safe and left unaccounted.

The auditor general advised that proper action be taken against parties who had violated the regulation.

Investigation into failure to recover misappropriated funds

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee announced on Monday (February 25) that it intended to investigate the failure by authorities to recover misappropriated funds in previous audit reports.

In the meeting held on Monday, Committee Chairperson MP Ahmed Nazim revealed that the committee intended to send a letter to Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor regarding the failure to recover the money.

Majlis Finance Committee member MP Ahmed Hamza told Minivan News that the Public Accounts Committee was still going through the reports and was unable to give an estimate as to how much money is still owed as a result of the misuse of state funds.

The finance committee member said that there were two issues in regard to the failure of recovering misused funds.

“If the government incurs a loss due to the misappropriation of funds, rather than recover the money, the guilty party faces criminal punishment instead.

“Secondly, it is a case of certain members finding it not possible to recover the funds that have been misused,” Hamza added.

When asked whether there had been any effort to recover the money in the past, Hamza stressed that some had been returned, but he was unable to give a rough figure as to how much.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Visam Ali was reported by local media as saying that government offices do not correct issues relating to how funds are managed, even after repeatedly being advised to do so in audit reports.